herald

Sunday 22 April 2018

We fear for our premature baby's health amid water crisis

Becky Wilkinson from Clogherhead in Co Louth pictured with her 10 week old son Teddy
Becky Wilkinson from Clogherhead in Co Louth pictured with her 10 week old son Teddy

The parents of a prematurely born baby have spoken of the challenges of caring for him amid the water crisis in the north east.

Becky and Tomas Wilkinson have been buying bottled water to use for sterilising bottles for their new son Teddy.

"Teddy is 10 weeks old now, but was born three weeks early," said Becky from their home in Clogherhead, Co Louth.

Up to yesterday there was no water station in town and people had to drive to Drogheda to collect water at designated locations.

"We have had to buy and boil water for sterilising and on Sunday we had to travel to relatives in Dundalk to bath Teddy.

"Now we are being warned we may be waiting until the end of the week for a resolution," she said.

"This is a major imposition and is adding stress when we are trying to get into a routine with a new baby."

The couple have also been left concerned about the water shortage because Teddy has had his vaccine for rotavirus, the gastrointestinal bug that is highly infectious.

"Teddy received his rotavirus drops on Thursday and the advice given to everyone after it is to increase hygiene measures, including hand-washing with warm water after every nappy change," his mother explained.

Virus

"We have had to purchase hand sanitiser and wipes without water to follow the nurses' recommendations.

"A small dose of the live virus is administered in the drops to help the baby build immunity and to prevent more serious illness if he is not vaccinated.

"Inevitably, with a small baby his clothes have stains after nappy changes and I am concerned that not being able to wash Teddy's clothes straight away that myself, Teddy and my husband Tomas are being exposed to the virus.

"It can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhoea for up to seven days, risking severe dehydration in small babies which could result in a hospital stay."

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